Let your voice be heard – weigh in on this issue by signing an e-petition at change.org: http://tiny.cc/vpvpw
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was more-than-a-little-bit peeved this evening when I came to campus for work. Just like you, reader, I made that left turn into campus and immediately regretted my decision. The moment I saw that long line of red taillights, those telltale orange cones, those poor cold-looking fellows in the neon vests, I knew it could only mean one thing:
Weekday athletic event.
Those three words, reader, have frustrated more students than almost any other issue I’ve seen in my three years at UT. It’s kinda amazing how pretty much the entire student body – no matter our age, race, religion, or our reasons for being here at Toledo – seems to agree that parking “privileges” should be reserved for tuition-paying students who are going to class or work or their residence halls.
Now, this post isn’t about whether I agree or disagree; I’m just trying to figure out exactly why it is that this small, infrequent change seems like a blunt injustice of Constitutional proportions.
To be fair, our campus is quite small. Have you ever been to a campus like, say, Ohio State? Parking there is at a premium, the campus is spread out over a far greater area, athletic events are even more numerous and popular… and yet, students there somehow make it through the year without their legs falling off from all that extra walking. So why is it that we’re all up in arms about having to park a few parking lots farther than normal?
To this Rocket, it seems pretty simple: change is hard. It’s true. Even if the change is common elsewhere for other people, we’re used to what we’re used to. For instance, even though campuses nationwide have been smoke-free or had designated smoking areas for years, a lot of our students were outraged when UT decided to make the switch. Why? To a student who’s been here for years or even just months, it doesn’t matter at all what John Doe University the next state over is doing – what matters is what’s going on in our little corner of the universe. I actually know several students who chose UT over other schools for the sole reason that they would be allowed to smoke freely on campus, so for them and many other students for whom smoking is a regular part of everyday life, the change was a pretty big deal.
So, for us Rockets who have gotten into our daily routines, perfecting our leave-the-house times so that we walk into class precisely one minute before it starts, or running around with tight gas budgets, it does come as a very unpleasant shock to make that familiar turn and suddenly see the good ‘ol blockade set up. In my opinion, the problem isn’t as much about the parking situation as it is about the sudden change with little or no notification. We could have left a little earlier. We could have worn our best walkin’ shoes instead of heels. We could have put an extra buck in the gas tank. But we didn’t, because we didn’t realize our well-oiled machine would have this wrench tossed in when we least expected it.
So what? So we’re late for class – most professors are understanding. So we have to walk an extra five minutes – we probably need the exercise anyway. So I was late to work – that’s pretty aggravating, truthfully, but worse things have happened. So what’s the big deal? The big deal is change. I’ve found that our generation is not very good at adapting. We get comfortable with our routine, and if someone throws us a curveball like a parking barricade, we flip out because of the inconvenience.
No matter your opinion on this matter, I think the lesson to be learned from all this is to expect the unexpected. These things happen in real life too, believe it or not. When I was just a baby Rocket, my mother always told me to just “go with the flow.” Sometimes it’s frustrating, and sometimes it seems unfair – OK, it seems REALLY unfair – but walking into class or work angry and frustrated won’t help your cause at all. The bottom line is that I do disagree with the University’s practice of reserving lots for game attendees and I would love to see it changed (see the link at the top of this blog); in the meantime, though, all we can do is go with the flow.